When we say accountability can help you reach your goals, we’re not just relying on anecdotal evidence. This stuff is proven by science.
Over the years, multiple studies have been conducted that show when we increase our accountability, we become more likely to achieve what we’re shooting for, whether it’s in the office or at the gym.
Keep reading to find out more about the science of accountability.
Back in 2014, the psychology department at the Dominican University of California conducted a study on goal achievement in the workplace. Each of the 272 participants was asked to set goals. At the end of the four-week study period, the researchers recorded how many had accomplished said goals – or were at least halfway there.
The results can be summed up like this:
In short, writing your goals down helps, but the biggest jump in goal achievement came from, that’s right, accountability, in the form of regularly sharing progress with a friend.
Need more proof? We don’t blame you, these are pretty audacious claims.
The American Society of Training Development found that planning the what, when, and how of a goal was enough to bring success rates to 50%. Making a commitment to someone else to follow through on the goal brought it up to 65%.
But can you guess what the success rate was for the folks who also set an accountability appointment with the person they shared their goal with? It was a whopping 95%!
That means that accountability almost doubled their odds – and nearly guaranteed they’d achieve what they set out to do.
As the old question goes, what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? Or, in this case, what goals would you set if you had a 95% chance to reach them?
Okay, so accountability can help further your career, but will it really push you to lose weight or train for a marathon? You bet it will.
In a study published in 2013, researchers at the University of South Carolina found that participants who shared their weight loss progress on Twitter lost more than those who didn’t. And in fact, the correlation was so direct that they were able to predict the amount of weight lost by the number of Twitter posts, with 10 posts corresponding to roughly 0.5% weight loss.
Of course, playing with your smartphone doesn’t actually make you lose weight. It’s the accountability that makes the difference here.
An accountability partner can motivate you to exercise harder and longer. A Michigan State University study found that participants performed 90% better when they had a virtual workout partner.
When the exercisers were placed in a team with a partner, where the results were based on the person who quit first, they exercised another two minutes longer on average. Eventually, the efforts of participants with a virtual partner outpaced individual participants by 200%.
Now, imagine what kind of progress you’d make if you worked out twice as much as you do now. How much more weight could you lose or “gains” could you make? How much faster could you train for that marathon or chisel out that six pack?
The MSU study also addressed something known as the “Köhler Effect”. Not only does having a fitness partner – whether virtual or real-life – improve our workouts, we’ll work even harder if we think the other person is doing better than we are.
In other words, having the right workout buddy is just as important as having a workout buddy in the first place. But shouldn’t both parties be able to benefit from the Köhler Effect? That’s why it’ s crucial to find an accountability partner that’s a perfect match and complements your strengths and weaknesses, who motivates you to go further without feeling like you’re weighing them down.
As you can see, accountability is powerful stuff that can make the difference between achieving your goals and falling short.
It can make you go further at work, help you lose weight faster, and motivate you to perform better in the gym. It can increase your chances of success by 10, 20, or even 50 percent.
So, what are you waiting for? Start putting accountability to work for you and your goals today – and reap the benefits.